A couple of weeks ago, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, a pro Super Smash Bros Melee player ranked in the top three, recently criticized Nintendo in his victory speech at a Wisconsin tournament called Smash ‘N’ Splash 3. He said that “a certain company that acknowledges us but refuses to push us—I hope you’re listening right now, because I want you to hear this. I want you to hear the amount of people who support this league, the amount of people who want this to be a lifestyle for people. This is not just a video game. This is a lifestyle! All right?”
Well, Reggie Fils-Aime was able to listen to this speech after Kotaku played it for him, and he had a response. Although Reggie highly suggested that Nintendo simply doesn’t want to do a league, he did take a moment to discuss how much Nintendo has reacted to the Smash Bros. competitive scene and what it means to them:
I love passionate Smash fans.
I will say this. Five, six, seven years ago, as we engaged with our developers and talked to them about Smash Bros. and what was happening, there was not a lot of understanding about this space. And it’s been people like [Nintendo of America’s] Bill Trinen and JC Rodrigo and all of these folks who understand the space that have helped us educate our company and educate our developers around the benefits of engaging with the community and empowering and enabling this to happen.
It was with the most recent Smash Bros. that we’ve done more tournaments and we’re supporting both the Melee community as well as the Smash Bros. Wii U community and they’re both vibrant and are continuing to grow.
It’s community-oriented. It’s enabling the community to drive it forward. We have relationships, obviously, with entities like Evo and Battlefly. We want to do this much more at a grassroots level than others’ visions around leagues and big up-front payments and things of that nature.